The Daniel Declaration
A Call to mission, a place to stand
Since 1996 when the American Anglican Council was formed, our mission has been to bring clarity out of confusion both within the culture and within the Church. Historically, our mission has been to always reform the Church, to keep it biblically faithful, and to inspire its leaders to be faithful, courageous, and resilient. When we published our AAC Statement of Faith, A Place to Stand, a Call to Mission (1997), it quickly became a standard by which clergy and congregations differentiated themselves from false teaching within The Episcopal Church. In fact, until the GAFCON Jerusalem Statement and Declaration (2008), A Place to Stand was a principal foundation on which biblically faithful and courageous Episcopalians sought to reform their Church.
Although times have changed, many of the issues we addressed then continue to present themselves today within the culture we live in and sometimes even within the Church we formed and serve. A case in point was the surprising pushback received by the ACNA College of Bishops to their Pastoral Statement on Human identity and Sexuality. Although the times have changed, the need to reaffirm what we believe, why we believe it, and how our Fundamental Declarations shape our response to the issues of the day remains the same.
For this reason, the Board of Trustees of the American Anglican Council has approved a restatement of our faith for the times we live in, The Daniel Declaration: A Call to Mission, A Place to Stand. You will find the entire text of the Daniel Declaration below, and we encourage you to read the whole statement and its Implications for Contemporary Issues.
You can also find a recently published video introduction to the Daniel Declaration which addresses the questions, “Why a Restatement, and Why Daniel?” You can find that video here.
Please be assured that this statement is not intended to supplant the Fundamental Declarations of the ACNA. We have incorporated them, as well as the Jerusalem Declaration (2008) and the Cairo Covenant (2019), into this declaration. Our prayer is that this document will be both an encouragement to all members of the ACNA and a clarification of how we may and should move forward in mission in ways that are biblically faithful, courageous, respectful, and resilient.
The Daniel Declaration
The mission of the Church according to Jesus’ Great Commission is to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). In a fresh commitment to that mission, we join in both a common confession of the Gospel and a renewed commitment to support one another in that mission in keeping with Christ’s Great Commandment and classical Anglican orthodoxy.
A COMMON CONFESSION OF THE GOSPEL
The Gospel and the Triune God: We give thanks to God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth in whose image we have been created, male and female. When he had finished his work and saw all that he had made, he delighted in us and his good creation. We acknowledge that we, as humanity and individually, have rebelled and broken our relationship with God. We rejoice in the grace of the Triune God who has forgiven our sins and granted us redemption in Jesus Christ. We proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, lived a life of perfect obedience to his heavenly Father, died on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, and rose bodily in accordance with the Scriptures. God the Holy Spirit draws us to faith in Jesus Christ through whom alone we are justified and found acceptable by God the Father. We rejoice in our salvation which will ultimately include the restoration of God’s original creation and the extension of his rule and reign as the fulfillment of his kingdom purposes. He invites us to be part of this Kingdom for which we wait in eager expectation until we see him face to face and are made like him.
Christian Obedience: We confess Jesus as the Lord to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given by the Father. We commit ourselves to follow him and love him above all else and to conform our lives to his life and teaching by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Scripture: We believe all Scriptures were “written for our learning” (Romans 15:4), that they are “God’s Word written,” and that we are to “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” We commit ourselves to regular Bible study and to preach and teach only that which is in accordance with Holy Scripture.
Congregational Life: We hold corporate worship, evangelism, discipleship, and mission to be interconnected and indispensable aspects of our response to God and his kingdom as revealed in Jesus Christ. We commit to being sacrificially involved in these four aspects of congregational life.
Outreach and Missions: The risen Lord commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to make disciples of all nations, and to follow his commandments. The mission of the Church includes both evangelistic proclamation and deeds of love and service. We commit ourselves and our resources to this mission both locally and to the uttermost parts of the earth. We affirm our particular responsibility to know, love, and serve the Lord in our local settings and contexts. Since the biblical pattern of witness moves from the local to the global, we will endeavor to be well informed about our local communities and active in church planting, service, Biblical justice, and cross-cultural, international mission with particular concern for the poor and the unreached peoples of the world for the purpose of evangelism, discipleship, and the redemption of all things in Christ.
Historical Faith, Ecumenical Vision: We affirm the faith of the Church as it is set forth in the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds and in the classical Prayer Book tradition including those documents contained in the “Documentary Foundations” section of the 2019 ACNA Book of Common Prayer (pp. 766-802). We further affirm the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as Anglicans have received them according to the Fundamental Declarations in Article I of the Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America. We affirm the Jerusalem Statement and Jerusalem Declaration (2008) and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans’ Cairo Covenant (2019) as expressing the normative and ultimate authority of Holy Scripture, and as the basis for both our present unity with brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion and the future reunion of all the divided branches of Christ’s one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
CONTEMPORARY IMPLICATIONS OF THE GOSPEL
Christian mission is rooted in unchanging biblical revelation. At particular times, however, specific challenges to authentic faith and holiness arise which require thoughtful and vigorous response. We, therefore, speak to the following issues of our time and culture:
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ: While religions and philosophies of the world are not without elements of truth, Jesus Christ alone is the full revelation of God. In and through the Gospel, Jesus judges and corrects all views and doctrines. All persons everywhere need to learn of him, come to know and believe in him, and receive the forgiveness of sin and new life in him as there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Church and State: Biblical social commandments, the Christian ethical tradition, and the principles of natural law taught by reason are foundational to the well-being of every society. Recognizing the call of Christians to be faithful witnesses and a transformational presence in society, we commit to expressing these commandments and principles in all spheres of life including the public realm of the nations in which we live. At the same time, we reaffirm the truth that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven and that we await from there our Savior, Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20).
Sanctity of Life: All human life is a sacred gift from God and intrinsically valuable; its value is not contingent on its utility. Human life is to be protected and defended from conception to natural death. We will uphold the sanctity and inviolability of life and bring the grace and compassion of Christ to those who face the realities of previous abortion, unwanted pregnancy, and end-of-life illness.
Generous Welcome: We love because he loved us first, so in grateful response to Christ Jesus in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, we will extend the welcome of the Church to every person, regardless of race, sex, social or economic status, sexual attractions, or past behavior. As we all are sinners and can only find our true identity in Christ, we call upon those who would accept the Church’s welcome to join us in self-examination, repentance, and amendment of life so that we will continually grow in Christ-like patterns of love in our thinking and behavior. We will oppose prejudice in ourselves and others and will renounce any false notion of inclusivity that denies that all are sinners who need to repent.
Marriage, Family, and the Single Life: God has instituted marriage to be a life-long union between one biological man and one biological woman intended for their mutual joy, help, and comfort, and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation and nurture of children. Divorce is always contrary to God’s original intention in a fallen world, though it is sometimes a tragic necessity. Children have a God-given right to receive love, support, and education from their father and mother. The God-given roles of a father and mother, exercised in a variety of ways, are non-fungible and indispensable. Both father and mother are profoundly important since they are the chief providers of moral instruction and godly living as male and female. The church, whom God delights in calling the household of God, is called to provide support and encouragement to single and adoptive parents who are seeking to raise their children in light of this ideal. The single life, either by call or by circumstance, is honored by God as a life of faithfulness and service to the church and the world. It is therefore important for unmarried persons to embrace and be embraced by the Christian family of their local congregation.
Human Sexuality: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St. Augustine’s Confessions I:1). While our deepest desires are fulfilled only through communion with the Lord, sexuality is inherent in God’s creation of every human person in his image. Masculinity and femininity are given to us and embodied in our distinct and complementary sexes as male and female. All Christians are called to chastity; husbands and wives by exclusive sexual fidelity to one another and single persons by abstinence from sexual intercourse. God intends and enables all people to live within these boundaries by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit and in the fellowship and support of the Church.
MINISTRY IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION
We desire to be supportive of congregations, dioceses, provinces, and structures of the Anglican Communion as an expression of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church; however, when within the Church at any level there arise tendencies, pronouncements, and practices contrary to biblical, classical Anglican doctrine and moral standards, we must not and will not support them. Councils can err and have erred (Article XXI), and the Church has no authority to embrace any doctrine or practice contrary to the clear teaching of Holy Scripture and the historic faith. When teachings and practices contrary to Scripture and to this orthodox Anglican inheritance are permitted within the Church — or even authorized by conventions or synods — we, in obedience to God, will disassociate ourselves from those specific teachings and practices and will respond with biblical correction in grace and truth.
INVITATION TO ASSOCIATION
We invite all Anglicans in the Americas who concur with this classical Anglican perspective to stand with us for biblical faithfulness, mutual encouragement, mission, and ministry, and where necessary, for protection of the right to live and minister in obedience to Scripture, the classical Anglican way, and conscience. We further invite all persons who share this faith to stand with us in this call to mission.
Adopted August 7, 1996, as “A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission”
Revised and adopted February 9, 2022, as “The Daniel Declaration: A Call to Mission, A Place to Stand”
If you would like to ask questions about The Daniel Declaration or would like to comment on it, please feel free to contact the Rev. Cn. Phil Ashey by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your local congregation or your diocese would like to officially adopt The Daniel Declaration, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.